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They've finally stopped. For hours I had to listen to echoes across the pavement, metal fists hammering. Over and over they crack, pound, chip, those bare-backed men tangled inside steel poles. I watch them on the curb, pulling sandwiches from paper bags and remember how everyday at noon I sat on that field behind school searching through my own paper sack. It was the surprise that I looked for, a handwritten note, a piece of gum, butter on the bread, the smell of home. I can't say that I've ever stopped looking for those hidden treasures. Across the street one of the men stands, punches his air-filled bag between his hands. So abrupt that moment when you find what isn't so loud the crush of emptiness.

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